Leeds United: Settled Bamba full of hope that Leeds can aim higher

Leeds United's Sol Bamba. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Leeds United's Sol Bamba. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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sOL BAMBA insists he was always fully confident that he would join Leeds United on a full-time basis – despite the protracted nature of his move.

The centre-half completed a permanent switch to Leeds from Serie A side Palermo on June 24, ending several weeks of speculation.

Despite a slight delay in his expected arrival, Bamba says that he was never concerned that his move back to England may be in doubt.

Bamba, who has signed a two-year deal with the option of a third year following his successful loan spell in the second half of 2014-15, said: “I wasn’t worried because that’s negotiations.

“It takes time sometimes.

“From day one, I always said I wanted to stay and there was never any doubt in my mind to go anywhere else other than here.”

Bamba’s arrival has been followed by the marquee signing of striker Chris Wood from Leicester City in a deal which could eventually rise to £3m – with the club having earlier brought in former Motherwell striker Lee Erwin and young goalkeeper Charlie Horton this close season.

United’s number of summer captures currently stands at four and the quartet could feature in United’s first friendly of the close-season at Vanarama North neighbours Harrogate Town at the CNG Stadium on Friday night.

The club are now in the market for an experienced central midfielder and left winger and Bamba believes that United can make waves at the right end of the Championship if they bring in a couple more players.

Confident that Leeds can make an impact in 2015-16, the Ivory Coast international added: “Definitely. We need to kick on and learn from the bad things we have done and take the good things we did as well and try to move forward.

“The squad is great, especially the young lads who are very, very good.

“I think if we can add two or three players to this, then we have a chance to do something good.”

Plenty of graft has been on the menu for Bamba and his United team-mates during the opening week-and-a-half of pre-season at Thorp Arch, with head coach Uwe Rosler and his coaching team working the players hard in order to get them into pristine condition for the big kick-off against relegated Burnley at Elland Road in front of the TV cameras in 32 days’ time.

At his unveiling on May 20, Rosler spoke about being a proponent of high-pressing, high-tempo ‘heavy metal’ football so successfully employed by his compatriot Jurgen Klopp during his rewarding stint at Borussia Dortmund.

With Rosler putting plenty of stock in pace and fitness, United’s players are being pushed to the limits, but Bamba certainly has no problem with that and believes that doing the hard yards will yield rewards for Leeds when the real stuff begins.

He said: “Obviously, the coach is German, so we know what will be happening and it is hard work.

“But we need to be really fit as in this league if you are not fit, you can’t win football matches.

“For where we want to be, we have to be (really) fit and we are happy that it is hard work.

“It is always enjoyable when you deal with the ball and while the running is difficult, it needs to be done.

“So we are not going to complain and we are happy with that.

“We are now back on track, working hard and it’s a case of so far, so good.”